Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Leave my PBS alone!

The New York Times reported on Friday that the House Appropriations Committee has voted to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for public broadcasting.

By a voice vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee adopted a measure that would reduce the financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that directs taxpayer dollars to public television and radio, to $300 million from $400 million. The subcommittee also eliminated $39 million that stations say they need to convert to digital programming and $50 million for upgrading aging satellite technology that is the backbone of the PBS network.

What they don't talk nearly enough about is how this applies to the blatant political take-over of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by the conservative right wing, who are simultaneously investigating PBS programming for "liberal bias".

In 2003, Bush appointed Rove-pal and O'Reilly Factor-fan Kenneth Tomlinson as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Board of Directors. In his efforts to make PBS every bit as "fair and balanced" as Fox, Tomlinson has pushed forward conservative showcases such as Tucker Carlson Unfiltered and The Journal Editorial Report, has appointed conservative ombudsmen (William Schulz, the admitted conservative, and Ken Bode, a former journalist and a fellow at Robert Bork's favorite conservative think-tank, the Hudson Institute. Bode is hilariously billed the "liberal" ombudsman in this formula), and Tomlinson is now pushing Patricia Harrison (former co-chair of the Republican National Committee) to serve as CPB's board president. PBS is already three season in on the Book of Virtues cartoon show for kids (the only episode I've ever seen was the overtly religious episode on "Faith") written by everyone's favorite former Drug-czar and Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow, Bill Bennett. When talking about his credentials at the PBS site, they don't mention he's also the author of The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals. Funny, that.

I've seen some liberal activists invoking Gen Xers' beloved childhood memories of Sesame Street and trying to paint this as an assault on Big Bird. That's a splashy way to catch attention...who wants to see Big Bird out on the street? I also think this is a bad way to go: it trivializes the problem, reduces it to a false argument over kids and cartoons. This is bigger than that: we're talking about partisan meddling in the public media! We're talking about Voice of America being told not to talk so much about car bombings and deaths in Iraq, but to find "positive stories" to run... with an ominous (if only implied) OR ELSE hanging over every directive. I don't want more Crossfire, I don't want more O'Reilly. I want News Hour. I want boring, non-commercial, factually informative programming. Hell, I want America's Test Kitchen! I want educational entertainment for my kids that doesn't stoop to slipping a few Bible stories in because they can.


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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

They probably didn't mention morally-superior-to-thou Bennett's gambling addiction either.



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